By Kiply Lukan Yaworski, Catholic Saskatoon News
Bishop Mark Hagemoen re-consecrated the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the celebration of the Eucharist Friday, May 1, 2020, live-streamed from the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon.
The conferences of Catholic bishops in both Canada and the United States invited dioceses across the continent to participate in the May 1 re-consecration of their dioceses and countries to the Blessed Virgin Mary, during this time of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the month of May is a “Marian month” when the Catholic Church focuses on honouring Mary, Mother of God.
In his homily May 1 before the consecration prayers, Bishop Mark Hagemoen focused on perseverance and prayerful hope during this unusual and uncertain time (LINK to video of homily live-streamed).
“Resurrection hope is our destiny because of Jesus Christ. That is not just a positive attitude, it is real hope,” the bishop said.
“Each day we are to hear and allow the Lord to take care of us, and not get worried in dread and fear about what may happen,” Hagemoen said. “The alternative is expectancy and hope. The Lord will do great things even in the worst situation.”
He continued: “God is able to bless even the evil that happens with his grace and blessing…. his grace will build on absolutely anything and everything. Let us be awake and watchful as we wait in joyful hope for the blessing of the Lord, today and always.”
Bishop Hagemoen noted that in addition to the re-consecration of the diocese to Mary the Mother of the Church, the May 1 celebration included a special focus on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, part of a weekly Friday focus in the diocese of Saskatoon, using adapted materials originally developed and shared by the Catholic Diocese of Calgary.
“We also pray and we hold up the Sacred Heat of Jesus in a way in which we deepen our trust in God and we also pray for those that strive to imitate that Sacred Heart in these times — especially the health care workers, the caregivers, the service providers,” he said, adding as well the chaplains and spiritual care providers visiting those in hospital.
In addition, the bishop noted that the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1 prompts a reflection on the faithfulness of St. Joseph and of the value of our work in the world — even the small, mundane things — which is an invitation to work alongside the Creator and Saviour of the world. “Maybe this COVID time is precisely a time to say a ‘yes’ we have held off on saying, and to walk with the Lord in our life and work.”
Prayer of Consecration (from CCCB)
Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church,
in this time of pandemic, we turn our gaze to you,
and in Christ consecrate to you the faithful of our diocese/eparchy, together with all the people of Canada.
At the Annunciation, fear gave way to trust as you embraced the mysterious and loving plan of God, who through his providence, care and concern brought about newness of life in you and through you.
Intercede, we pray, on our behalf as your children, Virgin most faithful. Grant us faith, hope and perseverance, as we strive to serve and bear witness to all persons, responding to the needs of those affected by this virus.
Standing at the foot of the Cross at Calvary, you united yourself with the sufferings of Christ and so uniquely contributed to the mystery of our redemption. We beseech you as Health of the sick, draw to yourself in maternal compassion the brothers and sisters of your Son Jesus and all those who are grieved by this pandemic. Strengthen the dying and comfort those who weep so that all may experience the healing grace of Christ our Divine Physician.
At the Cenacle, after the Resurrection, you accompanied the Apostles with prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In your maternal care as Consoler of the afflicted, accompany healthcare professionals, all who minister to the sick and those who seek a cure to end this pandemic, that the Holy Spirit may renew the face of the earth.
To all of us, dearest Mary, Mother of all the living, be present and show forth your tenderness, as we raise our eyes to you who shines forth before the entire community as a merciful and compassionate companion on our journey. Time and time again, with burdens weighing heavily on their hearts and in their many necessities, the Christian faithful have sought refuge under your mantle of protection.
Come quickly to our aid at this time, Mother of Mercy, and deliver us from the dangers that surround us in our hour of need; watch over especially the elderly, the weak and the infirm, our children and the unity of our families, and all those who give of themselves selflessly in pastoral care to those in need until in your arms and in your gentle embrace we all find safety and solace. AMEN
The celebration in the diocese of Saskatoon was one of many similar prayer events held across the continent and around the world.
“The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), in fraternal communion with the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has agreed that this Marian consecration be held on the same day in both countries, making this a most meaningful and powerful intercession throughout North America to the Blessed Mother,” according to a media release from the CCCB.
In addition to the consecration to Mary held in dioceses and parches across Canada and the USA on May 1, the bishops of Mexico, as well as the other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, consecrated their dioceses and eparchies to Mary on Easter Sunday. The bishops of Italy said on April 20 that they would consecrate their own country to Mary after receiving hundreds of letters requesting the consecration.
Canada was first consecrated to Mary at a National Marian Congress in Ottawa in 1947, then again in 1954 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape near Trois-Rivieres. Prayers of re-consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary were also held across the country — including in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon — on Canada Day 2017 to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
The title “Mary, Mother of the Church” was given to the Blessed Mother by Pope St. Paul VI at the Second Vatican Council, and a memorial under the title was added to the Church’s liturgical calendar in 2018. Pope Francis declared that the Monday after Pentecost (which falls on June 1 this year) should be celebrated as the memorial of “Mary, Mother of the Church.”
Pope Francis has offered up a Prayer to the Virgin Mary for protection in light of COVID-19
“Traditionally, the Marian Month of May is when we honour Christ’s mother who is our mother and the mother of the Church, and at this particular time with all the challenges we are facing spiritually as well as social and economic challenges, it is a special time in the way the church can honour Mary,” said Archbishop Gagnon, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) in a recent interview with Canadian Catholic News.
Resources for Marian Consecration:
- Ritual of Consecration from CCCB
- Background about Marian Consecration
- Announcement about Consecration of Canada to Mary from Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: English / French
- Letter addressed to the faithful from the Holy Father for the month of May, issued on 25 April 2020 inviting everyone to pray the Rosary at home and offering two prayers to be recited at the conclusion of the Rosary: English or French
- Litanies de Lorette (French) / The Loreto litanies (English)